April 13, 2017

The Elite Four: Video Game Crushes [Ladies Night!]

A little over a year ago, I published what ended up being one of my most popular articles to date, The Elite Four: Video Game Crushes. I was glad to see that everyone found the humor in that list, but
I deliberately limited this goofy collection to 'no girls allowed', knowing full well that there were enough ladies on my mind to fulfill a list of their own. But I think it's important to note that as video game characters go, I'm indifferent to gender. A great character is exceptional regardless of their sex.
That said, being a woman, I've been subjected to my fair share of sexism in games (like always having to play Chun-Li or Blaze, because they're girls...) so an amazing female character still impresses me that much more; I'm happy to see strong female leads and supports, even though they always attract a ton of questionable attention... fuck it. Here's one for the ladies! My Top 5 Video Game Crushes - Ladies Edition!

5. Salsa (Eternal Sonata)
And just like that, I'm a pedophile. (I promise I'm not a pedophile.) The reason I love Salsa so much - besides her spicy name - is that she's my spirit animal! She's a small rambunctious, sarcastic, unstoppable, competitive, strong, leader material with wicked weapons and a healthy appreciation for hats! She's also the obnoxious counterpart to her incredibly soft sister, which parallels me nicely. Salsa literally embodies my younger self... so excuse me for loving myself. What's more, Salsa single handedly made that game worth playing. She was always the number one in my party and her cut scenes were far more entertaining than anything Chopin ever did. Never mind Freddy, I want a Salsa game! Also pretty sure I had that same hair cut at some point...

4. Samus (Metroid)
Kinda predictable, huh? But here's the thing: Samus was one of the first exceptional gals to lead her own game, except no one knew that. Until the end. To this day, one of my strongest gaming memories was watching my brother play Metroid, and while he contemplated the history of Mr. Samus, I cleverly snuck in a "what if it's a girl?" Imagine my delight when a bikini-clad Sam popped out of that awesome suit at the end of the game and I did about nine victory laps of "IN YOUR FACE!" to my unimpressed brother - who's since changed his tune regarding playing as females. The secret is out, but Samus has continued her legacy of being one of the best suited ladies in video games (seriously, who doesn't want that suit?!), and while I complain that there hasn't been a great Metroid game in some time, Samus has never faded away.

Speaking of well suited ladies...

3. Bayonetta (Bayonetta)
I mean, look at her shoes. The shoes alone make this babe worthy of a spot on this list. Her shoes were the first thing I noticed about her! I still remember that vividly. But Bayo brings much more to the table than some great footwear, she's one of the baddest bitches in games! Bayo's look is a funny mix of incredibly modest and incredibly... not. She's one of the only characters I've heard the feminists and the misogynists argue both in favor and against in this regard and the case can be made for both, but I don't think Bayo would hesitate to kick either party's ass. She's smart, fast, adaptable, funny, surprising and gorgeous, and never leaves you bored or uninterested throughout her games. Bayo is so tough she handles angels and demons with more finesse than her own emotion journey. Give or take her ridiculous posture, I wanna be Bayonetta when I grow up.

2. Cameela (Shining Force 2)
It wouldn't be a "crush" list of mine without some villains, and Cameela is the hottest thing to rise from hell. This tricksy greater devil is supposed to be one of the toughest bosses in Shining Force 2... and she is, 'cause I never want to kill her. But also 'cause she packs some pretty bitchin' stats for a scantily clad purple devil, and has the clarity of mind akin to an emotionally confused serial killer. Cameela is supposed to work for Zeon, but like pretty much everyone else in the game, she doesn't take her contract too seriously and actually ends up helping the force in the long haul... but not before stalking the group for, y'know, hours, and delighting them with her fun wit and pearls of wisdom. I always look forward to running into Cam, and kicking my feet up while she argues with her cohorts like I argue with my family.

Also, how fun is it that you can google Cameela and find my tweets about her?😂

1. Faris (Final Fantasy V)
Faris is so tough she literally bends the rules of gender assignment. It's fitting that she's part of a game called Final Fantasy (my favorite installment, by the way) because she's very much my life-long fantasy. I never had a great relationship with my parents, but I didn't have the balls the get lost, become a pirate and tame a great sea creature. I just steal my mum's dogs. Faris immediately became my favorite character in FFV due to her stonewall attitude as a pirate captain. She's a risk taker, a leader, as emotional as a rock, and she doesn't have a fuck to give about what anybody thinks about her! A true badass. But despite being so long removed from the life she once knew, it doesn't take Faris long to recognize what - or who - is important to her and she always sticks to her instincts. She's not all rainbows and butterflies, but who is?

Honorable Mention:
Tyris Flare (Golden Axe) - a.k.a. the dragon lady. Tyris is one of the few lady options that I actually insist on playing every time I play her game. She brings the heat.
Sonya (Mortal Kombat) - Every time I battled someone in Mortal Kombat, they would insist I play as Sonya because we share the same gender... but I knew what they didn't: in addition to having one of the coolest fatalities, Sonya actually has more moves than the rest of the roster. This gave me a desirable "girl power" advantage.
Fem Shep (Mass Effect) - I feel like Mass Effect is one of a very few games which is actually made better by selecting the female Shepard. When I reached out on twitter for some advice, I was told unanimously that Fem Shep was the way to go. That's saying something!
Elena (Uncharted) - Elena is one of the few "girlfriends" that I don't hate. Normally these characters are thrown in to add very boring components to the game, but Elena is not only a plot device in Uncharted, she actually adds a great deal of genuine emotion and power to the games.
Amaterasu (Okami) - shout out to Brandon for pointing this one out in his list of a similar topic. Ammy is actually a great, overlooked pick for tough leading lady. I guess when the main character of a game is an animal, people take less notice, but Okami is a kick ass game and Ammy is a kick ass lead!

And there you have my Playboy mansion-worthy lineup of gals! Actually, that would be an awful group to stick together. Would end up like something Shakespeare wrote, me thinks. Whatever. Who are your leading ladies?!


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